Mumbai: Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday said the COVID-19 threat still persists though restrictions have been partially eased to allow resumption of business and other activities.
He said the monsoon session of the state legislature will be held from August 3 instead of June 22 scheduled earlier, a decision which comes in the backdrop of rising COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, where the infection tally has gone beyond the 90,000-mark.
“If needed a one-day special session to pass the supplementary demands will be convened before August 3,” he said.
Urging people to avoid crowding and maintain physical distancing post easing of lockdown norms under “Mission Begin Again’, he reiterated his demand for resumption of suburban train services in Mumbai for movement of staff on essential services duty.
Thackeray hinted the coronavirus-induced lockdown, currently in force till June 30, will have to be extended if guidelines related to it are not followed strictly by people.
Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee of the state legislature, he said lockdown measures have been eased because economic activities need to resume as “now we have to learn to live with the virus”.
“The virus threat still persists but we need to start economic activities. Outdoor physical activity has been allowed for your good health and not to spoil it,” he said, referring to reports of people crowding on the roads after the restrictions were eased.
The CM said people should follow coronavirus-related protocols for their own good.
“Lockdown will have to continue if this (non-adherence of norms) happens. But I am confident people will listen to the government’s rules and guidelines since it is taking care of their welfare,” he said.
Thackeray said he has been demanding that suburban train services resume in Mumbai to allow people on essential services duty to commute.
“Even now many of them are not able to travel because of lack of transport,” he said.
Thackeray said the BAC, at its meeting, unanimously decided to hold the monsoon session of the legislature from August 3.
Assembly speaker Nana Patole, council chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, leaders of opposition in both houses Devendra Fadnavis and Pravin Darekar, ministers and MLAs were present in the meeting.
Speaking about the financial assistance for damage caused by cyclone ‘Nisarga’ last week, Thackeray said the government had announced immediate relief of Rs 100 crore for the worst-hit Raigad district, Rs 75 crore for Ratnagiri and Rs 25 crore for Sindhudurg.
The chief minister rejected reports in a section of the media about friction between ministers and bureaucrats in the cabinet meeting which took place on Tuesday.
“It is not true,” he said.
Thackeray also asked the authorities to provide compensation to last year’sflood-hit people of western Maharashtra.
As a special case, those who were rendered homeless in the flood will get Rs 5,000 per family to buy clothes and household items, the CM said.
As per the revised guidelines for compensation, Rs 1.5 lakh will be provided for total house damage, Rs 50,000 per hectare (up to two hectare) for crop loss, said deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who was also present at the press conference.
Occupants of partially damaged houses will get Rs 15,000, damaged slums Rs 15,000 and small businesses will get Rs 10,000 as financail assistance, Pawar said.
Pawar said the government was considering a proposal to provide concrete houses to people whose homes were destroyed in the cyclone that hit coastal districts on June 3.
“We are considering whether this can be done under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana,” said Pawar, who also holds the finance portfolio.
Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said losses were minimal because the administration was put on alert before the cyclone made landfall in Raigad district on June 3.